From the time she had been little, so little she could not get up the steps without help, she had been with her people. At first they had taken lots of time with her, always playing and cuddling her, taking her out to teach her about outside. As she had grown older her people seemed to be angry with her, she often did not know what she had done wrong, but it seemed … she didn’t know, what had she done wrong? Her tail, once held high sank lower and lower. She had found a spot in a corner that seemed to work. No one pushed or shoved her away when she stayed there. She wished there was something there to make the spot softer, but knowing her people were not upset with her was enough.
She would watch them with her huge lonely brown eyes. They seemed to get along, laughing, playing, joking around. Somethings her tail would thump on the floor in hopes that they would notice her.
Often times, now, her tummy would growl with hunger. The family had such good smells coming from the food area, but her bowl rarely had anything in it. She would get so thirsty. One day one of her people caught her drinking from the toilet, she had just been so thirsty. He had hollered, hit her, she had run with a frightened cry, back to her corner, fearful to come out again.
One day her people loaded her into their car. She used to love to ride in the car. But they had stopped taking her places with them.
When she had been little, she was so cute, so easy to handle, but as she had grown into her now 40 pound self no one had wanted to take the time to teacher her what was expected, They never showed her what they wanted her to do so when they would go out she made mistakes, pulling on her leash, chasing cats, birds, jumping on other people. They just seemed to have lost interest. She wanted to tell them to just show her. She loved them, would die for them, but they never listened. She wanted to try, wanted to make them happy with her again. She tried to tell them with her whines, her hopeful tail thumps, but she was the outcast of her people pack.
She enjoyed the drive, her longish white fur waved in the wind and she took such pleasure in feeling the rushing wind on her face. Little Mandy reached over to give her a hug and gasped. “Daddy, I can feel Dotty’s bones in her chest. Is she okay?”
“Tom, have you been feeding the dog?” Dad asked Mandy’s older brother.
“Well, sort of, I think I put something down for her a few days ago.” Tom replied guiltily.
“I take it she has had no water either, then.” Dad remarked.
“Uh, yeah, I guess. Dad, I’m sorry, I forgot, she looks just fine.” Tom tried to cover his mistake.
“It’s a good thing we are doing this then. You obviously don’t care about the dog. Remember when you saw her, how you promised you wouldn’t miss a day playing with her or feeding her? Now you are letting her starve.” Dad tongue lashed his son.
“Are we taking Dotty to a farm?” Mandy asked, wondering if she would get to see cows and ducks and chickens.
“There are farms all around and I am sure she will find herself a good home, Mandy, but we are going to give Dotty her freedom so she can pick which is the best home for her.”
Dad stopped the car and parked it and got Dotty’s leash. “Come on, girl, out of the van.”
Dotty jumped down, anxious to please, tail wagging. Finally, a family outing; she could play with everyone and things would be better. Maybe they would give her some food to stop the craving in her tummy.
Dad walked her into the woods about fifty feet and took off her collar and leash. He told her to sit and stay and walked away. This was a strange game and she cocked her head at him, curious, a little confused.
“Stay, Dotty, Stay; now that’s a good girl. You stay, girl.” Dad called, He walked back to the van and got in. Then she heard it start and drive away. Still she remained true to her Alpha’s last command; “stay.”
Finally she began to suspect but was sure they would come back, they just forgot. She would stay near by so that when they returned she would be right there, ready to go home. Hours went by as she sat by that dirt road, watching and listening for the van. The sun went down and as evening came a rain storm rolled in with it. The awful, frightening truth began to occur to her. Her people, her pack had abandoned her. The reality of it broke her heart. She laid down right there but the side of the road, in the pouring rain and would have been happy to die.
The might passed miserably. When the sun arose she raised up and began to trudge along on shaky legs. She was wet, half-starved, covered in mud. Her heart was broken and she had no idea what would happen to her. Another day and night went by, she had found some food thrown away and ate it ravenously. It took the edge off, but she found herself throwing it up. She had gone without for so long that eating it so quickly was something her stomach could not tolerate. It was getting colder out and her fur, although on the longer side, was not a real source of warmth.
There was another rain storm that night, then temperatures dropped, Dotty found herself leaning alongside a building and just dropped to the ground, too weak to even find shelter from the rain. The cold of the night sent a chill deep into her bones. She laid there and waited for her inevitable death. Still she wondered what had she done? She would have tried harder if she had only known what to do. Her eyes closed and she sank into oblivion.
The next morning a young boy was walking past the barn and spied a lump of dirt that had not been there before. He went over to poke at it and his eyes widened in surprise and concern.
“Uncle Clay! Come here! There’s a dead dog by the barn!”
“What’re you carrying on about, boy!” an older man walked out of an older ramshackle house.
“Come on, Uncle Clay, come see!” the boy pulled his uncle by the hand.
“Well, I’ll be….” Remarked Uncle Clay as he stared at the form of the dog. We went to clean the dirt off the dog and both of them heard a whimper. “RJ, I think this dog may not be dead.”
“Can we keep it then, Uncle Clay, please? You know how I’ve been wanting a dog since Max got hit by a car. Please? You know I’ll tend it ‘n all.”
“Now boy, I ain’t say’n yes and I ain’t say’n no. First we have to see how bad off it is, then we have to get Aunt Ruth to give her bless’n.”
Uncle Clay lifted Dotty up, she was light as a feather. Her whimpers grew a little louder, but she did not fight those hands, she was too weak.
“Ruth! Ruth! Got us a situation here! Need your good word on it.” Clay called to his wife. Ruth came out onto the porch wiping her hands on a dish towel. Her spare body dressed in an old pair of jeans and one of her church T-Shirts. Her once golden hair had strands of white running through it. Her eyes were crinkled at the outside corners but gentle and kind. Ruth was a practical woman, with a heart for the less fortunate. She was forever giving her time at the local soup kitchen, checking to be sure some of the widows in town had food, transportation. She would bring baskets to some of the poorer families to help them through rough spots. She saw the skeletal dog in her husband arms.
“Well, good grief, Clay, what is that poor thing you have there?”
“RJ found it by the barn. Seems alive, but I don’t know how far gone this poor thing is. I’m thinking some family dumped their dog out in the woods. No tell’n when it last ate. Spent the night in the mud next to the barn. More dead than alive I’m a think’n. But RJ want to try in bring it back. What are your thoughts?”
“Well bring it on up into the house, I can’t tell anything until I see it better.”
Clay brought Dotty in and laid her on the kitchen rug. Ruth ran a warm pot of water and dipped her rag in it and began to wash some of the mud off Dotty. Once the dirt was gone, Ruth got a cry towel and rubbed her down. She got some milk and dabbed her fingers in it and rubbed the mild on Dotty’s nose. Dotty licked half-heartedly, several times, then with warmth back in her body, she fell asleep.
She woke up an hour or so latter and RJ was right there. He brought her some more warm milk, but this time there was an egg in it as well. Dotty licked the bowl clean and her tail thumped in gratitude. She looked at this boy and wondered if this was a dream or not. He seemed so kind, so patient. She lowered her head onto his knee and looked up at him hoping not to be pushed away.
“Well look there, Ruth, seems the boy has him a new dog.” Clay said.
“She’s a good looker, that’s for sure. Gonna take a ton of time keeping that long coat from getting tangled and matted. But you are right, husband. She seems pretty set on him.”
RJ, what are you going to name her?” Uncle Clay asked.
“I don’t know, Uncle Clay. Aunt Ruth, do you have any ideas?”
“I was think’n. She kind of looks like an angel, all that white fur. Why not angel?”
RJ grinned. “Perfect. “ He pet her head. “Hey Angel. Do you want to live with us?”
Maybe there was something to live for. Angel thumped her tail and reached up to lick RJ’s face. She had found a home.angel the lost dog